UK sees late online surge as Omicron dents physical store visits
With consumer concerns over the spread of Omicron, it’s no surprise retailers and couriers are experiencing a late “avalanche” of last-minute gift deliveries as visits to physical stores collapse by 25%.
That figure comes from home delivery firm ParcelHero that expects the industry to be faced with a 17% surge in deliveries as consumers shun busy shopping locations. Indeed, it noted that Monday’s deliveries already looked to be around that amount higher on anticipated volumes.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, said: “The arrival of Omicron is nightmare timing for High Street retailers. It’s heartbreaking. Things had been looking so rosy for town centre stores this season, with a 10.8% rise in the value of sales as recently as last month.”
He added: “Even so, we expect online stores and couriers will meet the challenge, providing shoppers don’t leave things until the 23rd. So far, none of the main UK couriers are reporting very significant delays to parcel deliveries, but many stores have sensibly cancelled next-day options and have brought forward their final order dates.”
Of course, we could still see shoppers who leave orders until mid-week potentially being disappointed if delivery firms are overwhelmed. We’re already getting anecdotal reports of deliveries running up to half a day later than promised and the situation could worsen.
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